Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies

‘Sharing is caring!’, I love this saying especially when it involves a great recipe that someone thoughtfully brings to my attention.
Zagorgeous Aunty Gail is the beautiful soul who surprised me with a copy of this amazing Donna Hay recipe in my Christmas card. Earlier last year Zaauntygail visited our family and brought a batch of these delicious morsels along with her to share. When I Sampled my cookie all I could say was ‘Mmmmmmmm I want this recipe’. Some of you may already be familiar with Donna’s ‘Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies’ for those of you who are not you need to become familiarised, they are devine. If you are like me and love chocolate and salted caramel you need to bake a batch of these cookies or find someone who can bake a batch for you.
I made a batch up this week and took them along to an afternoon tea I had been invited to. They got great feedback.

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You will need:

350g dark chocolate chopped (I used a 200g block Coles dark chocolate and used dark chocolate chips for the remaining 150g)
40g unsalted butter (I prefer standard butter I like the fuller flavour it gives)
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted

For the frosting:
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pouring cream
150g unsalted butter, chopped (again I used standard butter)
sea salt flakes for sprinkling

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Preheat oven to 180C (I did 170C for fan forced).
Place 200g of the chocolate (use the block chocolate for this part) and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook stirring frequently, until melted and smooth (when melting chocolate I like to do it over a pan of simmering water, it’s a much gentler heat). Set aside.

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Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electic mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy.

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This is how my mixture looked after 15 minutes of whisking.

Stir through the flour, baking powder, chocolate mixture and remaining chocolate (this is where I used the chocolate chips) and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

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Chocolate mixture.

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Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until puffed and cracked.

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Allow to cool completely on trays.

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To make the salted caramel icing, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir with a metal spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook for 8-9 minutes or until golden (I set the timer and sat with the caramel while it was boiling away, as soon as you see it start to get that golden tinge remove it from the heat straight away so it doesn’t burn). Once caramel is away from the heat carefully add the cream and butter (I stress carefully).

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When I added the cream and butter I ended up with a big hard clump of toffee in the saucepan but I just followed the recipe directions of returning the saucepan to the heat and stirring until the mixture was smooth again (this process took me a good 10 minutes or more).

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Remove saucepan from heat again. I allowed my mixture to cool to room temperature I then placed it in fridge and left it to cool completely (for me this was overnight) as I was getting tired and it was past my bedtime. The picture above show the caramel ready for the fridge and post overnight refrigeration.

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Place mixture in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer whisk the mixture until soft peaks form.
Spread half the cookies with the frosting, sprinkle with salt and sandwich with remaining cookies.
Recipe says you should get 12 (I got 11.5).

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Voila!!!
I will just say enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and as Zasister would say YOLO!!!!

Coming up on the Blog next week is a little bit of Zamama sewing action (scary I know, as in no way am I an experienced sewer, year 9 and 10 textiles & design is the extent of my training!). I also Plan to share a delicious savoury appetizer with you all.

Until then
Zamamabakes

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Dark Chocolate Tim Tam truffles

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If you like chocolate then you are in the right place.
It’s that time of year where lots of us are baking for School Christmas parties, neighbourhood get togethers, gifts for teachers, you name it there is usually always a good reason to be baking especially at Christmas!!
I have been wanting to make truffles at Christmas for the last couple of years but just never seem to have got around to it?
After seeing posts on Facebook and pins on Pinterest I decided to adapt my own version of a truffle. Zadada and I don’t mind a bit of dark chocolate as a little after dinner treat, that’s how I came up with the ‘Dark Chocolate Tim Tam Truffles’.

INGREDIENTS
250g block Philadelphia cream cheese softened a little (just take out of fridge 1 hour before using)
2 x 200g pkts Dark Chocolate Tim Tams
125g Arnott’s Choc Ripple Biscuits
300g Dark Chocolate
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METHOD
1 Process all biscuits in a food processor until very fine.
2 Add Philadelphia cream cheese and process until well combined. Mixture will look a little like children’s Play Dough but a little rougher in texture.
3 Roll mixture into a ball sized to your liking. Bite size worked well for me I used a heaped teaspoon as my guide. Place rolled balls onto baking paper lined trays. Pop balls into fridge for about 20 mins especially if it’s summer where you live. Once you have melted the chocolate in the next step get them out ready for dipping.

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4 Melt chocolate ( I use the good old-fashioned method for melting chocolate, see here)
5 Secure balls on a skewer or fork ready for dipping in chocolate. I found spooning the chocolate over the balls in conjunction with dipping a good way to ensure good chocolate coverage. Let excess chocolate drain as best you can and place coated ball back on baking paper lined tray.
6 Decorate truffles with whatever your heart desires. I used shredded coconut and Coles brand edible white pearls.
7 Place in refrigerator to set, then transfer to an airtight container and continue storing in the fridge until they disappear.

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Extra Options
As you can see from the picture below I did a little bit of experimenting.
When my mixture was at the Play Dough stage I halved mixture placing 2nd half into another bowl. I then added a Jaffa twist by Squeezing the juice of 1/4 of orange and adding 1 teaspoon of fine orange zest. You may need to knead it through a little. I added some shredded coconut on top. I also had a bit of fun with some white chocolate on the Jaffa flavoured truffles. It’s all pretty much up to your imagination.
You could experiment with all the different flavours of Tim tam biscuits and hey why just limit it to Tim Tams the biscuit aisle at the supermarket has lots of inspiration on offer.
What ever you choose to do just have fun with it and enjoy!!!!

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Chocolate Cupcakes With Salted Almond Icing

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I discovered this recipe a couple of weeks ago while having a look through ZaPop’s copy of The Daily Telegraph Newspaper. It was in the “Eat well” section. There was also an article by Grant Jones called “Season to Taste”, he writes
“A little salt used at the right time in the cooking process can go a long way”.
I completely agree with the above statement as this cupcake recipe below by Marion Grasby, Masterchef combines salty and sweet in just the right proportions to tantalise one’s tastebuds.

The temptation for baking these cupcake’s had been hovering in my kitchen for a couple of weeks as I had kept the article and recipe aside from ZaPop’s newspaper when I discovered them those few weeks ago.

I found these cupcake’s didn’t bake up like a standard cupcake they were a little more crisp on top (not that, that was a bad thing) probably because the recipe does not use flour. In fact the recipe I believe is actually gluten-free provided you use pure icing sugar in the icing, so everyone gets to enjoy this delicious recipe.

Here is what you need

INGREDIENTS

200g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), roughly chopped

150g unsalted butter, chopped

2 tbsp brandy (I only used 1 tbsp. just to be safe but I would recommend the 2)

4 eggs, separated

1 cup caster sugar

1 cup ground almonds

1/3 cup natural almonds, sliced

SALTED ALMOND ICING

125g unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste instead)

1/2 tsp almond essence (I did not use almond essence)

1 tsp sea salt flakes

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 170C. Double line a 12-hole (80ml/1/3 cup) muffin pan with paper cases.  (I filled 14 paper cases)

Place chocolate, butter and brandy in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes or until combined.
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Cool for 15 minutes.

Using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks, sugar and 2 teaspoons of water on highspeed for 3 minutes or until thick and pale. Fold in chocolate mixture, then fold in ground almonds.

In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold one-third into chocolate mixture until just combined, then fold in remaining egg whites until just combined.

Divide batter among paper cases and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool cupcakes in pan.

To make the icing, use an electric mixer to beat butter, vanilla, almond essence and salt until pale and fluffy.

Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until well-combined. Cover surface of icing with plastic wrap to prevent it drying out. Set aside.

Stir icing to a spreadable consistency, if necessary, then spread over cakes. Top with sliced almonds to serve.

Recipe: Marion Grasby, MasterChef

Below you will see how crisp my cupcake’s looked on top, infact Zadada thought they were biscuits when he first saw them come out of the oven.
I would love someone else to try this recipe and let me know the outcome of texture on top they get. Regardless of the texture these cupcake’s were a delight to eat and I will happily make another batch very soon. I think they are a delicious cupcake for adults.

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I hope you get to make and enjoy a batch of these soon.

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Gluten free chocolate loaf

I have made this cake several times now and it never fails. We are not a gluten free household but I do have a few friends who are gluten free which was what originally led me to discovering this recipe, however now I bake it because we enjoy it so much. It is beautifully moist and chocolatey!!! I did discover it at taste.com they are my online cooking bible love their site!!!!
I don’t always use Lindt chocolate, I usually just buy the dark chocolate on sale with the highest cocoa content.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. Click here for a fantastic recipe!!!

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